Severe Weather Awareness Week: Watches and Warnings

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama. It is a time to review some of the basics before storm season gets going.  Whenever there’s a threat, There are two basic terms that everyone should know, but they can sometimes even confuse storm pros.

The first is a Watch. This means conditions are right for severe weather. It’s usually issued several hours before the storms are expected to arrive. It’s not a “guarantee” that severe weather will strike, but it’s a kind of a “heads up”.

The second term used is a Warning. This means that a dangerous storm is going on “right now” and you need to take immediate action.  A warning may be issued for a whole county or part of a county.  It usually lasts anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes or more.

Tornado watchHere’s an example of a tornado watch, it covers the counties colored in purple. Again, it doesn’t mean severe weather will hit every one of those counties.

 

 

tornado warningHere’s an example of a warning for part of St. Clair County.  The red-shaded triangle identifies where the storm is expected to go.  Notice not all of St. Clair County may have an impact from this storm.

 

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